Reducing levels of damp in your home can be a challenge. Ireland has one of the highest levels of rainfall so it comes as no surprise that many Irish home experience issues with damp, condensation and mildew, even in newly built homes. Older houses tend to be more prone to damp. However there are lots of practical and cost effective ways that can help reduce dampness and condensation. A damp environment in your home can spell trouble for the future of your house and your own health. It can cause decay to timber and stone work, discolour paintwork and encourage the growth of unsightly mould in your home. However, the build-up of mould and condensation in the building can also have an effect on the air quality in your home. This can leading to respiratory issues such as asthma and allergies.
It’s important to ensure that you are checking your home regularly for signs of dampness so that any issues can be dealt with before they develop further. Of course the first step is identifying the source of the dampness before tackling it. There are two main sources of damp in the house. There is either a structural issue that is allowing moisture into the home. Or it can be down to a moisture build up within the home such as poor ventilation in bathrooms or kitchens. Either way, it is vital that every step is taken to limit the damage caused by spreading dampness. So here is a handy list of some tips that will guide you in reducing levels of damp in your home.
1. REDUCING LEVELS OF DAMP IN THE KITCHEN
The Kitchen can be a huge source of damp as it is the busiest room in the house. It is also where the combination of high heat and moisture is most inevitable. You should keep lids on pots and pans when cooking and only use the necessary amount of water in the pot. Try to avoid leaving pots bubbling away for long periods of time – once the water has boiled, turn it down to a simmer. If you don’t have an extractor fan installed above your oven and hob, then it’s definitely worth the investment. As an extra measure, make sure windows are open to allow air to circulate especially at cooking time. Your kettle should be positioned away from walls or cupboards so that when the kettle is boiling, the steam rising doesn’t cause condensation to build up.
2. REDUCING LEVELS OF DAMP IN THE BATHROOM
The Bathroom can be another major source of dampness. Showering and baths can contribute up to 2 litres of moisture into the air of your home every day. Like the kitchen, you should invest in an extractor fan that will suck excess moisture out of the air. Most bathrooms have their extractor fans linked to the lighting system so the fan comes on the moment the light is turned on. If you don’t have an extractor fan, then ensure you open the window after your shower.
If you are having a shower, it’s worth taking the time to wipe down the tiles or glass with a squeegee afterwards. Pay close attention to the seals around your shower – any signs of black mould building up will be a clear sign that water is leaking from your shower. When running a bath, run the cold water first then add the hot water. This simple step will reduce the amount of steam rising from the running hot water.
3. LAUNDRY DAY
Once the warmer months are here, it’s a no brainer to dry your laundry outside and let the sunshine and outdoor breeze do all the work. During the winter this can be a bit more of a challenge. Avoid putting your wet clothes onto the radiators to dry. Use an clothing rack for drying clothes and ensure that you are drying your clothes in a room that is well ventilated. You should also make sure that your washing machine and tumble dryer are externally vented. This is to reduce the amount of moisture that is released into the air in your home every time you wash and dry your clothes. One final point is to allow clothes to fully dry before putting them away in your wardrobe and it’s a good idea to leave your wardrobe doors open regularly to allow air to circulate through this space.
4. MAINTAIN AIR CIRCULATION THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE
As a general rule, try to avoid placing furniture right up against the wall. It’s preferable to allow some ventilation space for your walls, particularly external walls. This may seem like a simple point, but it’s worth touching your walls to check for dampness. Most people won’t notice damp until it starts to smell or mould appears. If you do a quick check of your walls when cleaning, any signs of damp can alert you to the issue. Once identified, it can be dealt with before it develops into a bigger problem.
5. A CONSISTENT TEMPERATURE IS KEY
Warm air can hold a lot more moisture than cold air. Condensation occurs when warm air meets cold, moisture is released from the air and gathers on any cold surfaces. Your thermostat is an important tool for combatting dampness issues. Although you may not want to have the heating on during the summer months, popping it on for an hour at a very low temperature will help to keep the air circulating around all your rooms. This helps to prevent damp and mould building up. This is particularly important for rooms not in regular use.
Turn down the thermostat to the lowest setting so that you are not using home heating oil unnecessarily. Of course, make sure that windows are opened in every room regularly during the day to allow damp air out. If you’d like to read more information on setting your thermostat, you can read our blog on Top Tips For Setting Your Thermostat.
6. PREVENT WATER LEAKS FROM OUTSIDE
Blocked gutters, pipes and drains can all lead to issues with damp. Make sure you are clearing any gutters, pipes and drains of any build up of debris such as leaves and plants. Any build up can interfere with the draining away of rainwater, which can then cause dampness. Have a good look around your windows to spot signs of mould, peeling paint or damage to the frame. Treat it straightaway to avoid further issues. Particularly after storm season, you should check for any missing roof tiles that may allow water to leak through the roof. You could also check the insulation in the attic for any signs of dampness. One final point would be to walk around the exterior of your house and look at the stonework. The exterior walls can take a lot of moisture from heavy rain. Take note of any peeling paint or cracked cement/stonework.
7. INVEST IN A DEHUMIDIFIER
A dehumidifier for your home can be a great investment especially in rooms that are prone to damp. This is a clever device that sucks out the excess moisture in the air. They are easy to install and cheap to run so can definitely help with dampness issues and air quality. However, it is worth noting that while a dehumidifier will help with the dampness, it won’t solve the cause of the issue. So a dehumidifier may be a good solution for a laundry room or kitchen. These rooms tend to have extra moisture building up.
REDUCING LEVELS OF DAMP IN YOUR HOUSE
We hope these Top Tips for Reducing Levels of Damp in your house has been beneficial. We have played a key role in heating homes across Cork for over 30 years by supplying only the best quality home heating oil to our customers. If you require any guidance on your home heating oil supply, give us a call on 022 4222011 or email email@example.com to arrange a refill of home heating oil. Unsure of which fuel to choose, check out the full range of fuels available on our website www.cityoil.ie or you may want to see our parent company, www.tria.ie.